Balsamic Lime Fajitas

It’s been awhile! But that is what happens when your 8-month old, affectionally known as Chicken Nugget, has an ear infection in both ears – your blogging habit falls to the wayside. But we still need to eat and luckily he is feeling better.

Enter these balsamic lime fajitas! The marinade is simple, which makes this a perfect weeknight meal. The chicken marinades while you prep and cook the veggies and the entire meal can be made within 30 minutes. Coincidentally my baby will only nap in 30 minutes increments.  Perfect!

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Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice (about one lime)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon adobo seasoning
salt & pepper
1 green pepper
1 small onion
tortillas
avocado, for topping

Begin by mixing the marinade by combining the balsamic vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, adobo, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken and let marinade for 20 minutes – or as long as you can.

Heat a large sauté pan and cook the pepper and onion until soft, about five minutes. Remove from pan. Add a little olive oil into the pan and cook the chicken through.

Build your fajitas with the chicken, peppers, onions and avocado.

Enjoy!

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The fajitas were good but these Spring tulips are prettier


Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

There is a little Greek lunch diner I frequented in downtown Pittsburgh while working my first real world job. Every Tuesday the special of the day was a thick, creamy lemon chicken soup. The lemon offered the perfect amount of tang to combat the heavy cream and orzo.  It was heaven on a cold, rainy Pittsburgh afternoon. Or even a hot and humid August day.

I was daydreaming about that soup the other day and sought to recreate the flavors in a lighter and easier recipe. The result? A lemon and broth based chicken soup that is full of the classic Greek flavors while being packed with vitamins from the kale and quinoa. And since its so healthy you can go ahead and pile on that fresh grated parmesan!


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Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
5 cups chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked
salt & pepper, to taste
parmesan for topping

Begin by softening the onions in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add garlic. Once fragrant add chicken broth, chicken, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper  and oregano. Let the mixture simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add back to the pot with chopped kale. Let kale wilt, about three minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

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It wilts down – I promise!

Pour soup over bowls of quinoa and top with grated parmesan.

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Enjoy!

 

Espresso and Almond Banana Bread

Weekends are for banana bread in my house. There is something about the smell of freshly baked banana bread that feels so warm and comforting. And since I am usually the first up on Saturday mornings I take the time to bake and use my French press for a good cup of coffee. So by the time my husband and son are up – the house smells like fresh bread and I’ve already enjoyed my coffee in a quiet kitchen. I get some alone time and they have fresh banana bread – we’ll my husband does since my son doesn’t have enough teeth yet.

The below banana bread recipe is actually healthy. The banana and apple sauce replace the need for oil and the butter is cut down to reduce the fat even further. But this bread by no means tastes healthy. And I like to add the espresso powder for some extra flavor.

And on a side note – this is amazing warmed up with some ice cream on top. Just saying!

Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant expresso powder
3 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  cup almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and expresso powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together. Add bananas, apple sauce, egg whites and vanilla. Slowly add in flour mixture and almonds. Mix until just combined.

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Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 45 minutes. The bread will be done if a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

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Enjoy!

 

Lemon, Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts

Life has been pretty busy lately. Between juggling work and a teething baby, the last thing I want to do is cook some complicated dinner when I get home. However, I also don’t want to eat greasy takeout or a boring freezer meal.

Enter, my freezer full of frozen salmon. Salmon cooks quickly but feels fancy. Perfect for a crappy weekday after sitting in rush hour traffic. Toss together some pistachios and panko – both pantry staples in my house – and this dish goes to another level.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Ingredients:
4 Salmon filets
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
4 cups brussels sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Begin by tossing the halved brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender.

While the brussels sprouts cook you can focus on your salmon. To make the topping, combine the pistachios, panko and lemon zest. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour topping over the salmon filets, pressing it on lightly.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and begin cooking your salmon, skin side down. Cook on the stove for about five minutes then transfer the pan into the oven to finish. About another five minutes or until it is cooked to your liking. I prefer mine a bit more well done than most.

Once the brussels sprouts are tender, remove from oven and toss in lemon juice and grated Parmesan.

Serve salmon with the brussels sprouts.

Enjoy!

Tomato “Risotto” with Italian Sausage

Confession time – I did not intend to make risotto tonight. I planned on throwing some random rice dish together using leftovers we had in the fridge. But about ten minutes into my improvisation I realized something magical was happening. Not traditional, real risotto but something just as delicious and decadent.

Sure it was just left over brown rice  but I think the key to the dish was the leftover rice. Cooking it a second time helped to achieve that creamy risotto consistency – without using traditional arborio. A delicious accident.

And really, who doesn’t have left over brown rice after getting Chinese takeout?

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 links Italian sausage, sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup broccoli
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, more if desired
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat a skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Add the sliced sausage and cook until cooked through, about five minutes. Add onions to skillet and brown. Add tomatoes, broccoli, rice and seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Let mixture simmer for ten minutes or until rice becomes creamy and the broccoli is softened. Stir in cheese until it melts.

Enjoy!